politics

NASS, DSS, police set to take over Edo Assembly, issue directive to Obaseki

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Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki has been issued a 5-day ultimatum to issue a fresh proclamation letter for the “proper” inauguration of the Edo State House of Assembly and election of a new Speaker.

The order came at a meeting of the leadership of the National Assembly, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and Director-General (DG) of the Department of State Services (DSS) on Wednesday, in Abuja.

The meeting was held at the instance of the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, over the petition received from 15 members-elect of the Edo Assembly who were not inaugurated in June this year.

Recalls that 15 aggrieved members of the State Assembly had petitioned the National Assembly, IGP and DSS DG over what they described as “illegal inauguration” of the Edo 7th Assembly and election of a new Speaker by 9 out of 24 lawmakers.

At the meeting, the National Assembly and the police expressed readiness to take over the affairs of the Edo Assembly if the governor fails to obey the directives after five working days.

“The leadership of the National Assembly, Inspector General of Police and Director-General of Department of State Services (DSS), after examining the crisis rocking the Edo State House of Assembly, between Tuesday night and early hours of yesterday (Wednesday), in Abuja, resolved that Governor Godwin Obaseki should issue a fresh proclamation for inauguration of the House”, a joint statement on Thursday read.

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The statement indicated that the National Assembly may likely send a team to observe the inauguration of the House and election of a new Speaker whenever a new proclamation letter is issued.

“Governor Obaseki is expected to comply with the directive, which will not exceed next week.

“If he does not do that within five days of receipt of the message from the Senate President, the National Assembly is likely to take over affairs of the Edo State House of Assembly and the police could also seal off the House until the fresh proclamation is issued and re-inauguration carried out,” a source in the Senate President’s Office added.

“Proclamation letter is not something to hide among some few persons, all the members of the House must know about it. They resolved that the right thing should be done and whoever wins in a free and fair process, so be it.”

At the private meeting hosted by the Senate President, Governor Obaseki who was expected to attend was absent, as he had returned to Edo State after his trip to Abuja on return to the country from the United Kingdom, last week.

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A source who is a serving senator who also attended the meeting, said the Senate President (Ahmad Lawan) was mandated to convey the decision reached at the meeting to Governor Obaseki. “He (Obaseki) is to issue a fresh proclamation within five days for re-inauguration of the House with all the 24 members present.”

He said the ruling party cannot be preaching rule of law and breaching it on the other hand “because the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will capitalise on such abnormality to score cheap political point.”

He, however, maintained that the decision was taken in the “best interest of democracy”, saying, “nobody is taking sides on the matter.”

Meanwhile, we previously reported that the Edo Assembly on Wednesday, swore in member-elect representing Akoko-Edo II Constituency, Emmanuel Agbaje, which brings the number of lawmakers so far inaugurated to 12.

The House was reconvened at about 4:24p.m, and after the necessary formalities, the Speaker, Frank Okiye, administered the oath of office on Agbaje at exactly 4.31 p.m.

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